Florida Slone is a singer and storyteller who lives in Knott County in Eastern Kentucky. When she contracted typhoid fever as a child, a doctor told her mother that the illness would damage her brain and that she would never be able to speak plainly, so Florida’s mother kept her out of school to help with family crops. These early years of isolation, cut off from spoken communication with even the closest members of her family, prompted Florida to develop a keen sense of observation. When she was later able to learn to speak, she celebrated this accomplishment by creating stories and songs of everything around her, and Homemade Tales includes Florida’s remembrances of her early years of struggle. She is shown imitating bird and animal sound, and singing songs she has made up about the natural world around her. She tells stories about witches who lived near her as a girl, and speaks of the visions and premonitions that guided her as she raised six children. Now that her children are grown, and her husband has died, Florida has had to become more independent. She returned to school, learned to read and write, and got her driver’s license. The documentary is a fascinating portrait of one woman's unlikely evolution.
Screenings & Festivals
Appalachian Studies Conference
Kentucky Educational Television
Chandler Medical Center
SECA National Broadcast